Forums: Skydiving: Incidents:
Nov 18, DeLand - Low Turn, Injury

 

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aulanov

Nov 18, 2012, 3:40 PM
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Nov 18, DeLand - Low Turn, Injury Can't Post

Hi all,

I want to share my recollection of the incident I got into yesterday, so others can learn from it and maybe avoid the mistakes I made. Moderators, please move it to "safety and training" if it's more appropriate there.

It short what happened was I made a low turn (below 100ft) to avoid hitting the fence separating parking lot and the landing area and to land on the parking lot. I hit the gravel surface of the parking lot. Luckily my injuries were not too bad: one broken bone in the elbow and bruised butt. Read below for more details.

I was new to that drop zone and on that day was jumping a demo Optimum. It was the fourth jump at the DZ, third jump on that day and third on that canopy. One thing that was immediately obvious about flying this canopy, was its very steep glide ratio (i.e. almost no wind penetration). On the first jump all my teammates got back to the landing area, while I had to land on some grass between buildings 800 feet away. On the second jump we all opened at the other end of the airfield, the team made to the student landing area in the center of the field, I barely cleared the woods and landed on the nearest patch of grass.

On the third jump we had a very nice spot. At 1500ft I was almost above the main landing area and was ready to set myself up for landing in the peas. As I was getting lower I realized I was being blown south. Between 1000 ft and 500 ft I was still hoping I was going to get there. Somewhere around 500 I realized I'm not making it over the beer line, and as I was coming down more it became clear I would strike the fence if I don't do something. Around 100ft above the ground I finally turned left with the intention to land on the parking lot. There wasn't enough altitude to recover from the turn and as you could have guessed I hit the ground.

Lessons taken away:
1. After the first two jumps I should have realized that jumping the Optimum on a windy day, on a not very familiar dropzone, with not too many outs is a terrible idea.
2. During canopy ride when you realize you may be blown away and not make it to the planned landing spot - don't wait until the last moment and find another place to land immediately.
3. Not only learn how to make flat turns, but also practice them often. This might have saved me.

Despite all that happened I still have to say Optimum is an awesome canopy. All openings were fast, but not uncomfortable. It has very smooth predictable flare, and I got soft, standup landings on the first two jumps. I won't hesitate recommending it to anybody.

I also want to use this chance to say thank you to all the nice people at the DZ who helped me after the crash.

Blue Skies!


Premier skymama  (D 26699)
Moderator
Nov 18, 2012, 3:56 PM
Post #2 of 34 (3449 views)
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Re: [aulanov] Nov 18, DeLand - Low Turn, Injury [In reply to] Can't Post

Glad to hear you are OK. IMHO, when one is demoing a new canopy, he or she should just focus on flying the canopy for the first few jumps and do some hop-n-pops. Smile


fcajump  (D 15598)

Nov 18, 2012, 4:40 PM
Post #3 of 34 (3390 views)
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Re: [aulanov] Nov 18, DeLand - Low Turn, Injury [In reply to] Can't Post

Glad your relatively OK.
Thanks for sharing, we can learn from it too.

Questions:
What were the winds (level/gust)?
Your wing loading?

Another way to handle a stiff head wind when you're not getting the penetration you want would be deep brakes and backing up to a clearer area. BUT, this also takes practice, knowledge of the canopy and knowledge of the landing patterns/traffic above/behind and smooth winds (not turbulent or gusty). NOT suggesting that you were in a position to use this technique here, just another tool for your experience bag-o-tricks.


JW


captain1976  (D 7183)

Nov 18, 2012, 8:14 PM
Post #4 of 34 (3128 views)
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Re: [aulanov] Nov 18, DeLand - Low Turn, Injury [In reply to] Can't Post

Yesterday's winds were not only strong they were quite variable and gusty. I have a few more jumps than you do and considered it to dangerous for me.

The unfamiliar part also has a lot to do with it. Near the fence you have trees from the trailer park in one direction and structures in the other, these all add to turbulence that makes everything unpredictable.

Thanks for your report and get well soon.


JohnMitchell  (D 6462)

Nov 18, 2012, 8:49 PM
Post #5 of 34 (3089 views)
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Re: [aulanov] Nov 18, DeLand - Low Turn, Injury [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
3. Not only learn how to make flat turns, but also practice them often. This might have saved me.
Thanks for your post and heal fast. Save a few pain pills for the next hard landing. WinkLaugh

The flat turn is a HUGE survival skill. I work with students all the time that are afraid to make any turn to adjust their final, often missing an easy landing on target. When talking to them, I hear the same thing, "No turns below 300'!"

I tell them that's a great rule for first jump students but we progress from there. Flat turns, gentle turns, easing in and out of turns smoothly, all can be done lower than 300'. You can even be in a gentle turn and flare from there, straightening out as you land.

Unfortunately this doesn't get taught or practiced enough. Then, when a bad obstacle arises, they tend to freeze until making a last second stab with a toggle, with the predictable result.

Close to the ground you have to keep your canopy over your head, but it doesn't mean you can't maneuver gently and smoothly.

Sermon over. LaughLaugh

Hope you're back in the air soon..


phreeloader  (Student)

Nov 18, 2012, 10:29 PM
Post #6 of 34 (3018 views)
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Re: [aulanov] Nov 18, DeLand - Low Turn, Injury [In reply to] Can't Post

 We were sitting on the upper deck and saw you come down, it really seemed that the closer you got to the ground, the stronger the winds got. It was a tough day for everyone! Right before you landed the wind pulled another jumper across the gravel walkway to the loading area.

Thanks for posting. We were concerned about you, but wanted to stay out of the way of all the other folks who came over to help & check on you.Hope you heal up quick!


danornan  (D 11308)

Nov 19, 2012, 4:40 AM
Post #7 of 34 (2829 views)
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Re: [phreeloader] Nov 18, DeLand - Low Turn, Injury [In reply to] Can't Post

"Lessons taken away:
1. After the first two jumps I should have realized that jumping the Optimum on a windy day, on a not very familiar dropzone, with not too many outs is a terrible idea."

I too have a few more jumps than you and gave jumping that day serious consideration. My personal feelings are that the winds were way too high for your level of experience.

DeLand's LZ is HUGE and the reason you felt that there were not many outs is that you got yourself behind the curve. There is a student LZ for a reason and I always try to land as far from the peas as possible and get a ride back. A lot safer and acres of grass to land on.


davelepka  (D 21448)

Nov 19, 2012, 4:56 AM
Post #8 of 34 (2812 views)
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Re: [aulanov] Nov 18, DeLand - Low Turn, Injury [In reply to] Can't Post

Quote:
Lessons taken away:
1. After the first two jumps I should have realized that jumping the Optimum on a windy day, on a not very familiar dropzone, with not too many outs is a terrible idea.
2. During canopy ride when you realize you may be blown away and not make it to the planned landing spot - don't wait until the last moment and find another place to land immediately

These are both great lessons. I'll expand on #2 just a bit.

Keep in mind that when making your intended LZ comes into question, you need to look for an LZ you can make and still fly a landing pattern. That means you need to find a place that you can fly to, and arrive over upwind of your intended touch-down point at least 500 ft above the ground. Yes, 500ft will only provide for a very short landing pattern, but it's better than no pattern at all. The idea situation is that you arrive over the upwind end of the 'new' LZ at your normal pattern entry altitude.

The reason for this is more than just preventing a low turn. As we all know, the pattern is a great tool for practicing your accuracy. You can adjust the length and height the various legs to alter your touch-down point, and this is a skill you should practice when landing on the DZ.

So when you're landing off, you can use the downwind lag of the pattern to 'sweep' the field. What this means is that you overfly the LZ at a low alttiude (the downwind leg will be under 1000ft AGL) and get a good look at where you're going to land. It gives you a chance to spot obstacles you couldn't see from higher up when you chose that field. Fences, wires, gopher holes, large rocks, etc, are all things you might not have seen from 2k, but when you fly over the field at 700ft, you'll be able to see those obstacles, and then adjust your pattern so as to touch-down in a clear area of the field.


fencebuster  (D 29918)

Nov 19, 2012, 5:38 AM
Post #9 of 34 (2756 views)
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Re: [aulanov] Nov 18, DeLand - Low Turn, Injury [In reply to] Can't Post

3. Not only learn how to make flat turns, but also practice them often. This might have saved me.


+1


richwilk  (E License)

Nov 19, 2012, 6:05 AM
Post #10 of 34 (2725 views)
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Re: [aulanov] Nov 18, DeLand - Low Turn, Injury [In reply to] Can't Post

I was the first one to you in the carpark, you made a hell of a sound when you hit the ground and thought some had bounced. Good to hear your ok and not only learnt from the mistake but have the humility to admit your mistake and share it with others. Speedy recovery and blue skies.


Premier NWFlyer  (D License)

Nov 19, 2012, 6:38 AM
Post #11 of 34 (2681 views)
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Re: [aulanov] Nov 18, DeLand - Low Turn, Injury [In reply to] Can't Post

I'd like to add another lesson based on the responses from a couple of highly experienced locals about the winds: you can build a lot of good knowledge about winds by watching who is jumping and who is sitting. If the only folks on the plane are tandems (and video) and people with lower jump numbers, think hard about why. Then check out who is hanging out watching the winds or already heading home. Talk to them about why they aren't on a load. Watch a few loads land with them. You may learn enough to make a different decision, regardless of whether you're jumping a familiar canopy at a familiar DZ.

Best wishes for a speedy recovery. It's good when you're here to tell the story and absorb the lessons.


QuickDraw  (C License)

Nov 19, 2012, 6:58 AM
Post #12 of 34 (2645 views)
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Re: [aulanov] Nov 18, DeLand - Low Turn, Injury [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm assuming you've been flying 9 cell canopies and this is a 7?
I had similar experiences with landing short, but without the hurt (thankfully). Wink

Some of the techniques I use (Spectre 190) are to cut my downwind leg in half
and use a longer crosswind if I need it.
Another, is to raise my knee's up to my chest (if your struggling to penetrate the wind)
this alone has got me back from some pretty long spots.
I also place my arms behind my back (toggles stowed)
and steer using weight shifting or a quick tug on my risers - anything that will reduce drag.

You did well, and you've learnt a new lesson, I don't think people explain the real differences
of flight characteristics enough between 7's & 9's

In no time at all though, you'll be landing on a dime. Smile

Good luck & heal fast.


kallend  (D 23151)

Nov 19, 2012, 7:47 AM
Post #13 of 34 (2577 views)
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Re: [QuickDraw] Nov 18, DeLand - Low Turn, Injury [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
I'm assuming you've been flying 9 cell canopies and this is a 7?
I had similar experiences with landing short, but without the hurt (thankfully). Wink

Some of the techniques I use (Spectre 190) are to cut my downwind leg in half
and use a longer crosswind if I need it.
Another, is to raise my knee's up to my chest (if your struggling to penetrate the wind)
this alone has got me back from some pretty long spots.
I also place my arms behind my back (toggles stowed)
and steer using weight shifting or a quick tug on my risers - anything that will reduce drag.

You did well, and you've learnt a new lesson, I don't think people explain the real differences
of flight characteristics enough between 7's & 9's

In no time at all though, you'll be landing on a dime. Smile

Good luck & heal fast.

There have been lots of discussions in the canopy forum about the best techniques for penetrating strong winds.


DocPop  (C License)

Nov 19, 2012, 8:24 AM
Post #14 of 34 (2533 views)
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Re: [QuickDraw] Nov 18, DeLand - Low Turn, Injury [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
I'm assuming you've been flying 9 cell canopies and this is a 7?

[snip]

You did well, and you've learnt a new lesson, I don't think people explain the real differences
of flight characteristics enough between 7's & 9's

There is a lot more to it than 7 vs 9 cells.

For example there are 9 cells that are trimmed very flat (eg. Stiletto) and those that are trimmed very steep (eg. Katana).

On the 7 cell side, PD describes the trim of the Spectre as flat, but the Storm as medium-steep.

I think a person jumping new type of canopy should get a briefing (from someone who knows) about how the new one will differ from their previous experiences, and they should also pull high to gain experience with flaring etc before landing.

It's really not a 7 vs 9 thing.


QuickDraw  (C License)

Nov 19, 2012, 8:52 AM
Post #15 of 34 (2473 views)
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Re: [DocPop] Nov 18, DeLand - Low Turn, Injury [In reply to] Can't Post

I was just saying it as I saw it, trying to explain one reason why his range might be a problem.
I knew what to expect with my Spectre because I asked questions, although it still took 20-30 jumps for me to dial it in.

I'm assuming again.. but I figured he may have mistaken 'no penetration' for a ground-hungry glide ratio.


phreeloader  (Student)

Nov 19, 2012, 9:58 AM
Post #16 of 34 (2382 views)
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Re: [QuickDraw] Nov 18, DeLand - Low Turn, Injury [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
but I figured he may have mistaken 'no penetration' for a ground-hungry glide ratio.

with the winds on Saturday it was less like a glide & more like a hover. Right before he turned it seemed he was going backwards


divegoddess  (C License)

Nov 19, 2012, 12:27 PM
Post #17 of 34 (2236 views)
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Re: [phreeloader] Nov 18, DeLand - Low Turn, Injury [In reply to] Can't Post

If you fly a 9 cell ZP main....your reserve will respond very differently than what you have come to expect from your main (for many reasons not just the 7 cell vs 9 cell)- it's always a great idea to try the reserve that's on your back before you need it in an emergency situation
we are glad you are OK


verticalflyer  (D 11313)

Nov 19, 2012, 1:21 PM
Post #18 of 34 (2185 views)
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Re: [aulanov] Nov 18, DeLand - Low Turn, Injury [In reply to] Can't Post

Glad your relatively ok. In addition to the lessons already posted you may wish to learn how to do a deep braked flare. This will allow you if you find yourself in a very tight landing area to still get a flare but sink into a very very small area. Its a key survival skill and is often not used or even made aware to those who have not completed a further canopy course beyond their initial training. Seek out a qualfied canopy school instructor for full brief. In essence you go to around 3/4 or more pending on comfort brakes, enabling an even steeper glide down whilst still enabling a reasonable end flare that you can walk away from rather than coming in fast and either making a poor last minute turn or flare with high forward speed. Its a life saver and I have used it on my Samurai 105 in about 90% brakes onto a tiny spot with no problems but you need to practice it to appreciate its value.Smile


popsjumper  (D 999999999)

Nov 20, 2012, 12:09 AM
Post #19 of 34 (1823 views)
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Re: [verticalflyer] Nov 18, DeLand - Low Turn, Injury [In reply to] Can't Post

LaughLaugh
Somebody in DZ.com tried to tell me that couldn't be done.
LaughLaugh


davelepka  (D 21448)

Nov 20, 2012, 4:39 AM
Post #20 of 34 (1728 views)
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Re: [popsjumper] Nov 18, DeLand - Low Turn, Injury [In reply to] Can't Post

Quote:
Somebody in DZ.com tried to tell me that couldn't be done

It can be done, and in very specific circumstances it is the best option for a safe landing, however, the most important part of the post is this -
Seek out a qualfied canopy school instructor for full brief

Like a lot of things in skydiving, there are more times that not that it's not the best option, and not even a 'good' option for the given circumstances. One of the problems with the internet in general is that sometimes the 'finer points' of the technique are not covered, and so there's no way to know if the reader knows, understands or is even aware of those finer points.

Can you make a steep approach into a small clearing, and still have a safe landing? In some cases, yes. Well before that point, a jumper needs a comprehensive course in decision making and getting maximum glide out of their canopy while much higher up in the canopy ride, allowing to make a more suitable LZ. In addition to that the jumper needs to be trained in slow flight and stalls, and have significant experience with those on the canopy in question, all this before it becomes a 'good' idea to try and sink a canopy into a small clearing which by it's very definition will be surrounded with turbulence-causing obstacles.

The notion of 'sinking' a canopy in is a throwback to the days of yore, when canopies were bigger, F-111, and with a much slower forward speed. They would sink more willingly and still have enough flare left without too much trouble or drama. The faster and smaller that modern canopies got, the less this became a 'go-to' manuver, and the more specialized it becomes. In the right hands, modern canopies can be flown this way, but to suggest this technique over the internet without that caveat is probably a bad idea.


fcajump  (D 15598)

Nov 20, 2012, 5:06 AM
Post #21 of 34 (1713 views)
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Re: [popsjumper] Nov 18, DeLand - Low Turn, Injury [In reply to] Can't Post

I understand that D-1 got (politely) repromanded for doing so against the DZ's no-slow-flight-in-landing-pattern policy. So, make sure you're allowed to do so... Crazy

I've been told that its rare enough at my DZ that folks get concerned over who would be crazy enough to be in deep brakes that low, then one of the older folks will look up and say "oh, it OK, its just Jim" Tongue

JW


CarpeDiem3  (D License)

Nov 20, 2012, 7:46 AM
Post #22 of 34 (1601 views)
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Re: [fcajump] Nov 18, DeLand - Low Turn, Injury [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
I understand that D-1 got (politely) repromanded for doing so against the DZ's no-slow-flight-in-landing-pattern policy. So, make sure you're allowed to do so... Crazy

I've been told that its rare enough at my DZ that folks get concerned over who would be crazy enough to be in deep brakes that low, then one of the older folks will look up and say "oh, it OK, its just Jim" Tongue

Yeah, at a busy DZ sinking in a canopy vertically doesn't fit well with all the zoomies flying around. That's why the pea gravel accuracy target should be somewhere away from where the zoomies land. Ahh, but modern DZ's often don't even bother to put in a pea gravel pit.

We used to also do figure-8's across the windline, or sashays, to burn off altitude for an accuracy approach, but that doesn't fit well with zoomies or a busy DZ either. At least when you're sinking you're only tying up one landing path, and not cutting back and forth across the whole darned approach.


FB1609  (C 1409)

Nov 20, 2012, 9:26 AM
Post #23 of 34 (1514 views)
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Re: [CarpeDiem3] Nov 18, DeLand - Low Turn, Injury [In reply to] Can't Post

Sinking in on a HP canopy can be very dangerous even if you have practiced a lot and are very familiar with the canopy, especially if the winds are even a bit squirrely.
In the old days, I used to love sinking in on my 252 parafoil, come in so slow and steady, each cm of toggle reacting in deep brakes, and stomp soft, even in horrible wind. Those days are long gone but looking back, it really was fun. I kinda got just as much satisfaction from a disk as a good swoop.


verticalflyer  (D 11313)

Nov 20, 2012, 9:44 AM
Post #24 of 34 (1489 views)
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Re: [FB1609] Nov 18, DeLand - Low Turn, Injury [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
Sinking in on a HP canopy can be very dangerous even if you have practiced a lot and are very familiar with the canopy, especially if the winds are even a bit squirrely..

AS I SAID SEEK OUT A QUALIFIED CANOPY INSTRUCTOR. I am only encouraging people to have as much knowledge in their tool kit as possible to deal with situations beyond there exsiting knowledge. Hence ideally I would love to see more people on canopy courses. Of course on a windy day, turbulent etc etc I would not advocate this, no sh*t sherlock. What I advocate is you have options and hopefully get yourself out of the corner while your still high up so there is no issue or need to employ those other skills. Whilst I have used this technique its been for an emergency exit over a down town built up area when landing in a tiny back garden after already working the glide path to make that area in the first place, rather than become at one with the forest and its inhabitants. Obviously on a normal DZ landing there should be no need to do this approach its when the Sh*t hits the fan and you need the multiple skill sets to be able to deal with them. As for using on a dz regularly I dont think you'd make any friends mid load, however practice on a low or nil wind day with a coached brief etc before and on a Hop n pop dedicated to that kind of approach, e,g a group of fellow jumpers learning and its a useful excercise.

Personally i do enjoy my swoop over an accuracy style approach but I like to know how to fly slow as well as fast as it is not always ok to swoop.Smile

Please seek a canopy course with a qualified instructor, its a tiny invetsment in your survival skills and will provide benefits for years to come and it might just save your life.


CarpeDiem3  (D License)

Nov 20, 2012, 10:09 AM
Post #25 of 34 (1468 views)
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Re: [FB1609] Nov 18, DeLand - Low Turn, Injury [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
I used to love sinking in on my 252 parafoil, come in so slow and steady, each cm of toggle reacting in deep brakes, and stomp soft, even in horrible wind. Those days are long gone but looking back, it really was fun. I kinda got just as much satisfaction from a disk as a good swoop.

Those days are still here, if you choose to buy a Parafoil or a Classic canopy, and do it. The low wing-loadings used for accuracy reduce your upper wind limit for jumping, but that's a trade-off you make for that discipline of the sport.


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